Pfizer vaccine 88% effective against B.1.617.2, AstraZeneca 60% effective

Prof Hayward told BBC Breakfast he was concerned about the Indian variant

TWO doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are needed to provide "strong protection" against symptomatic infection from B.1.617.2, the coronavirus variant first identified in India, suggests preliminary data from the UK Department of Health and Social Care's executive agency, Public Health England (PHE), Financial Times reported on Saturday.

"We expect the vaccines to be even more effective at preventing hospitalization and death", said Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE.

The data showed getting both doses of the vaccine was "absolutely vital", he added.

"Although it was originally imported through travel to India, it's spread fairly effectively, first of all within households and now more broadly within communities".

The vaccine was found to be 66% effective against the B.1.1.7 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom, a study cited by the health body showed.

Dr Cillian de Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, also sounded the alarm bell about the new Indian mutation stating: 'The B.1.617.2 variant continues to increase, with 72 cases now identified in Ireland.

India recently increased the maximum allowable gap between two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, called Covishield in the country, to a full 16 weeks.

"Get a second dose of the vaccine as soon as it's offered", that's the urgent message from the Health Secretary after new data showing how effective the vaccines are against symptomatic disease. Data also shows it takes longer for the AstraZeneca jab to reach maximum effectiveness.

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Colombia's restrictions apply to travelers who have been in India within the last 14 days or who had a connecting flight there, the statement said.

While U.S. cases attributed to the B.1.617 variant now sit below 1%, the growth rate remains unclear due to the small sample size.

It also represents a steep rise compared to figures given on Wednesday, when Health Minister Matt Hancock said there had been 2,967 cases of the variant.

As with other variants, even higher levels of effectiveness are expected against hospitalisation and death.

The more hard question to answer is what this means for the speed of the route back to normality. "In fact, the present wave during April and May months seems to be because of this variant". The designation will also spur efforts to control the variant's spread and, potentially, development of new diagnostics or the modification of vaccines or treatments. The country has confirmed more than 4.4 million coronavirus cases with the death toll at almost 128,000.

The Indian variant certainly gives the virus a bit more of an advantage, but it doesn't mean the vaccines won't win out.

The analysis included data for all age groups from April 5 to cover the period since the B1.617.2 VOC emerged.

So far, there is no evidence that it causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines less effective. This brings the total of all those who lost their lives in Greece since the beginning of the pandemic to 11,772. Most people with the India variant in areas around Bolton had not been vaccinated.

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